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Calendar

The Visual Conquest of International Law: Brute Boundaries, the Map, and the Legacy of Cartogenesis
Jun
7
10:00 AM10:00

The Visual Conquest of International Law: Brute Boundaries, the Map, and the Legacy of Cartogenesis

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

This seminar will be presented by Mr. Nikolas Rajkovic, professor at Tilburg Law School

The late critical geographer Brian Harley forewarned that modern cartography had come to control and even ‘imprison’ spatial understandings of the earth. Where does this leave international lawyers when they encounter a quintessential ‘World Map’? Quite bluntly: tied to an inscriptive institution that has embodied the modern legibility and visualization of earth space. When speaking about the global arrangements of economic and political power constituted through law, what emerges, therefore, is the need for an expanded spatial literacy among international lawyers that critically engages the graphic legacy and influence of the geometric map. To enhance that literacy, M. Rajkovic reaches beyond the doctrinal field to engage a powerful spatial critique that has thus far encompassed scholarship across geography, international relations (IR) and sociology. A critique that took impetus over 20 years ago with John Agnew's assertion that modern social science had become captured by a ‘territorial trap’. The presentation attempts to enrich that critique with Mark Salter's insight on material power, Marshall McLuhan's emphasis on the medium of communication, and Bruno Latour's critique of cartographic naturalism. Specifically, M. Rajkovic introduces the concept of cartogenesis as a way of underlining the deeper legacy and consequence of modern cartography, and specifically how the map medium should be grasped as a historical actant that has inscribed a particular ‘ground map’ of international authority. Lastly, he looks at how geometric mapping now confronts new inscriptive ordering in the forms of transnational lists and contracts, which assert a growing scale of authority over earth space to an extent not seen since the Mercator Projection was recognized as an overriding geographic model.

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Workshop with Mrs. Amélie Ouellet
Mar
14
11:45 AM11:45

Workshop with Mrs. Amélie Ouellet

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

This workshop will be presented by Amélie Ouellet*, Nurse, M.Sc., Direction des programmes de déficience intellectuelle, trouble du spectre de l'autisme et déficience physique, CIUSSS de l'Estrie - CHUS. Lecturer in Care Ethics, School of Nursing, Health Campus, Université de Sherbrooke.

This presentation will address the ethical responsibility of nurses to defend the rights of adults with intellectual disabilities and their families in a hospital care setting. This vulnerable population will often see their situation become more vulnerable during hospitalization episodes. The nurse, both through her privileged role at the bedside and with her family and through her constant presence on the care units, must be able to defend the rights of these patients with more complex needs, who are not necessarily able to verbalize them as accurately as the general public. Moreover, this role is an integral part of the legislative context of nursing as a profession. This concept of advocacy was borrowed from the field of law and appeared in nursing literature around the 1970s as a form of denunciation of the paternalistic movement at this time. Several nursing authors attempted to define the concept of advocacy, but these definitions vary according to the context. Bu and Jezewski's (2007) theory, one of the two theories guiding our study, defines this concept as safeguarding patients' autonomy, acting for their well-being and acting as an advocate for social justice in the provision of health care. However, it appears that a lack of knowledge persists regarding the nursing role of advocacy, particularly among this clientele. In addition, recent scientific literature shows that several barriers to this role exist, including lack of nursing staff, overwork, lack of organizational support, etc... In order to better understand these gaps in nursing practice, our case study of this clientele, their families, nurses and managers aimed to describe the lived experience of these participants in a hospital setting. For the patient-family, the results obtained show that the advocacy experience remains contextually complex, both in terms of the particularities of their health situation and in terms of the nurse's mixed and partially accomplished advocacy experience. With respect to the lived experience of nurses and managers, their personal and professional characteristics shape this advocacy practice. The experiences of all these participants intersect with issues related to nursing ethical practice, nurse ethical education, managerial supervision and governance issues. The latter stem from the context of the reorganization of the health system and accentuate the situation of vulnerability of this clientele, further increasing the need to defend their rights. Our research results lead us to conclude that there is a need to renew the ethical competence of nurses and managers to optimize this advocacy role in order to improve the quality and safety of care provided to this clientele and their families whose needs are not adequately met.

* Under the direction of: Pre Chantal Doré, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Institut universitaire de première ligne en santé et services sociaux, Université de Sherbrooke; Pre Louise O'Reilly, Nurse, PhD, Researcher and Consultant in the field of humanist practices, Visiting Professor, Institut et Haute École de la Santé La Source - HES-SO - Lausanne and Associate Professor, Université de Sherbrooke and Université de Montréal.

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“Oral evidence” in Aboriginal land claims cases
Jan
23
11:45 AM11:45

“Oral evidence” in Aboriginal land claims cases

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

This workshop will be presented by Mr. René Lemieux, professor, Département des lettres et communications, Université de Sherbrooke, member of the Groupe de recherche en études littéraires et culturelles comparées au Canada et au Québec (VERSUS) and the Centre interuniversitaire d'études et de recherches autochtones (CIÉRA).

“Oral evidence” in Aboriginal land claims cases is a subject that has received increasing interest since Delgamuukw (1997). This paper takes a philosophical approach, based on the Derridian concept of “citationality”, to the admissibility of the Indigenous oral tradition as evidence. What happens when Indigenous testimonies are cited by the law? What transformations does these utterances undergo? Taking the art history debate between Claude Lanzmann and Georges Didi-Huberman on photographs by the Sonderkommandos as a model, this paper will examine the aesthetic limits of the “rules of oral evidence” in an Indigenous context. What will be discovered is that the distinction between writing and speaking is less important than the one between what constitutes a testimony and what constitutes a proof, the latter distinction being too often ignored. In the end, it will be argued that rethinking the conditions of possibility of the law as a language system in a hospitable situation is what needs to be done.

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New public management and administrative law
Dec
5
11:45 AM11:45

New public management and administrative law

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

This workshop will be presented by Alexandra Bouchard, a master's student in law at the Université de Sherbrooke.

This presentation will focus on the influences of new public management on Canadian administrative law, particularly on the decision-making process of administrative decision-makers. Since the administrative reforms of the early 2000s, various mechanisms from the new public management approach have been put in place in Canadian government. Decision-makers are now borrowing from managerial sciences, in order to decide in the most efficient and effective fashion. As part of this research, the speaker attempts to shed light on the possible influences of this paradigm shift on the decision-making process of administrative decision-makers and to reflect on the possible implications of these changes for judicial review.

The speaker will offer during this workshop some ideas for reflection by presenting the problematic and the theoretical framework of her research project.

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Gender-inclusive writing: beyond grammar
Nov
22
11:30 AM11:30

Gender-inclusive writing: beyond grammar

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

Seminar with Michaël Lessard, lawyer.

Language is a means for exclusion of women and non-binary people, and its damaging effect does not come solely from grammar. In the legal community, we continue to use problematic expressions, euphemisms, and turns of phrase, sometimes without even noticing, that leave a lingering taste of sexism. These types of linguistic sexism will be brought to light so that you can identify and avoid them.

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Teaching Critical Race Theory
Nov
15
11:30 AM11:30

Teaching Critical Race Theory

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A8-122

Seminar offered by professor Adelle Blackett, McGill University Faculty of Law

Professor Blackett will share her experience teaching two courses, Critical Race Theory and Law and Slavery, at the McGill University Faculty of Law. The discussion will also address the challenges associated with integrating a critical race perspective into contemporary legal education.

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Critical Approaches to What? The Environment as a Category of Analysis for the Critique of Law
Oct
30
11:45 AM11:45

Critical Approaches to What? The Environment as a Category of Analysis for the Critique of Law

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

Workshop with Hélène Mayrand, professor at the University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law. 

This presentation provides an overview of the current state of critical approaches to environmental law, whether international or national, and seeks to question the theoretical and structural challenges contributing to the fact that critical approaches to environmental law are still emerging, even within critical legal approaches. While critical approaches focussing on class, gender, ethnic origin or Third World populations are developed, critical approaches to environmental law remain marginalized. Some approaches identify themselves, implicitly or explicitly, as being critical of environmental law, such as ecofeminist approaches and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). However, very few approaches adopt an eco-centric perspective. In order to contribute to critical approaches to environmental law, the development of clear theoretical and methodological tools is necessary to undertake a deconstructive analysis of law aimed at understanding current problems within environmental law and adopt alternative legal norms. The legal discipline presents important barriers for the development of such approaches, considering that the latter seek to deconstruct ideologies enshrined in law, including law centred on the human and its needs, the right to property of nature understood as an object of appropriation, the concept of risk in favour of exploitation, the choice of an optimal development from a cost-benefit perspective, an optimist posture towards science and technology to counter the negative effective of human activity on the environment, etc. Some research and reflection avenues will be offered, in particular through using an interdisciplinary lens by interacting with critical geography.

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The theory of the commons and the complexity of its reception in civil law countries
Sep
20
11:45 AM11:45

The theory of the commons and the complexity of its reception in civil law countries

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

Workshop with Simon Journet, a doctorate student in law at the Université jean Moulin Lyon 3 /Université Jean Moulin,  Centre Louis Josserand

This communication consists in observing, from a comparative perspective, the fate of norms and empirical institutions secreted by the ideology of the “commons” within countries of civil law tradition. Nourished by both abundant doctrine and delicate translation work, the notion of “common(s)” initially rooted in an economic theory and based on a common-law approach to ownership, upsets the architecture of civil law.

Faced with the diversity of representations contained in the notion of “common(s)”, this presentation will only sketch, through a definition of environmental communities, some features of the legal nature of the commons in terms of the theoretical models proposed by the civil law tradition.

The difficulties inherent in identifying its legal nature are the result of this delicate transition from one tradition to another. Indeed, the understanding of the “commons” is based more on inductive thinking derived from the rules of governance of resources, which raise various issues related to the organization of the enjoyment and disposition of the thing by the users.

Behind these considerations, which may seem technical, hides a much deeper interrogation: is the notion of “common(s)” the negation of ownership or the exploration of a different form of appropriation, of belonging, allowing one to go beyond supremacy of its private form in civil law?

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Criminal justice and the management of social problems : A discussion inspired by the phenomenon of intellectual disability
Jun
11
11:45 AM11:45

Criminal justice and the management of social problems : A discussion inspired by the phenomenon of intellectual disability

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

Workshop with Guillaume Ouellet, associated professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal department of sociology, and researcher at the Centre de recherche et d'expertise sur la déficience intellectuelle et le trouble du spectre de l'autisme.

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 Animals in the Civil Code of Québec: subjects or objects of rights?
Apr
20
11:30 AM11:30

Animals in the Civil Code of Québec: subjects or objects of rights?

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

Workshop with  professeures Valéry Giroux, professor at the University of Montréal Faculty of Law, and Alexandra Popovici, professor at the University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law. 

Since Pythagoras’s antiquity, philosophers have questioned our moral obligations towards animals. Today, more and more activists and ethicists claim rights for sentient animals other than humans. What about jurists? Have they brought justice to animals? By stating that animal are not things, could it be that the Civil Code of Québec offers new tools to bring this justice forward?

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From intruders to contributors: law and legal researchers in the world of public health
Feb
14
11:45 AM11:45

From intruders to contributors: law and legal researchers in the world of public health

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

Workshop with Marie-Ève Couture-Ménard, professor at the University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law. 

This presentation is about the challenges and the joys of investing an emerging field of research and about being a legal researcher among non-jurists. More particularly, the speaker will address the emergence of public health law research in the broader field of public health research. She will discuss the challenges of designing her most recent research project, focusing on municipal policies regarding healthy eating in Quebec.

*The presentation will take place in French*

 

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Facing justice alone: mystification, frameworks and experiences
Feb
9
11:30 AM11:30

Facing justice alone: mystification, frameworks and experiences

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-209

Seminar offered by Prof. Emmanuelle Bernheim, Department of Legal Sciences, UQÀM, and Richard-Alexandre Laniel, master's degree candidate, Department of Legal Sciences, UQÀM.

The seminar will address issues related to unrepresented litigants. 

*The presentation will take place in French*

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The interested person in Quebec civil law
Jan
24
11:45 AM11:45

The interested person in Quebec civil law

University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Room A7-235

Workshop with Alexandra Popovici, professor at the University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Law.

This presentation follows Alexandra Popovici's recent work on the conceptual architecture of the Civil Code of Québec and the social function of private law. It seeks to understand if it is possible to act in a disinterested manner in private law. To do so, it will address the fascinating notion of the “interested person” as it is found in the Civil Code. Although in general only a person having a personal and immediate interest in a dispute can petition the court, the legislator has authorized, in certain particular situations, an “interested person” to seize the court even though this person has no personal interest to claim. Who then is this interested person? Is she acting in her own name or in the name of another? And what is the nature of her interest? Is it an interest without a right? A right without an interest? Is it even possible to separate these two notions? Shedding light on these questions will help us gain a critical insight into private rights as they are understood today.

*The presentation will take place in French*

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Blogging Law
Dec
5
12:45 PM12:45

Blogging Law

This event will offer the opportunity to learn more about the practice of legal blogging, which is increasingly popular. It will be led by Édith Guilhermont, Lecturer, Research Professional, and founder of the Juris Blogging website, and Maxime St-Hilaire, Law Professor at the University of Sherbrooke and active blogger. Following their presentation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the many aspects of this emergent form of knowledge dissemination in academia and legal practice, as well as of legal outreach in different communities.

This event is organized in collaboration with the Quebec Society of International Law's (QSIL) Student Circle.

 

Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
Room A-1715

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Culture as Object of Regulation in a Federation: The Implementation of International Law in Québec
Nov
1
11:45 AM11:45

Culture as Object of Regulation in a Federation: The Implementation of International Law in Québec

Workshop with Lucas Lixinski of the University of New South Wales. 

Law Faculty, Sherbrooke University, room A7-235.

** This event will be in English **

In this talk, Dr Lucas Lixinski discusses the interface between the idea of subsidiarity in the regulation and appreciation of culture, on the one hand, and the valuing of this culture as being important to all of humanity, on the other. Lixinski uses the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (colloquially known as folklore) as a case study. This treaty was not ratified by Canada, but Québec went ahead and decided to implement it anyway, as a means of safeguarding its living cultures. Through this example, we can discuss the multiple tensions between subsidiarity, identity, and international personality in federal contexts.

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The Legal Culture of Human Rights: An Obstacle for the Justiciability of Social Rights?
Oct
23
11:30 AM11:30

The Legal Culture of Human Rights: An Obstacle for the Justiciability of Social Rights?

October 12th, from 11h30 to 1h30 PM, room A7-235.

Seminar with Christine Vézina

The literature on the justiciability of social rights in Canadian law documents the phenomena using two angles. It underscores the normative and institutional obstacles that appear due to the absence of formal provisions recognizing social rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, to a lesser extent, in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, to the lack of recognition of the positive obligations borne by the state, to the constitutional reparations with an individual scope that do not embrace the systemic dimensions of the infringement of social rights, and to the principle of the separation of powers. It also highlights the justiciability vectors for social rights that are supported by certain judicial interpretations, by the large scope of the rights recognized in the Canadian and Quebec human rights charters and by the transformative constitutional reparations, such as the structural orders. In the end, we find that despite the lack of integration of social rights in the fundamental texts, courts possess normative and procedural instruments which hold the potential of leading to a greater effectiveness of social rights, but that these remain largely under-exploited. This situation leads to a fragmented case law that is refractory to the advancement of social rights. Certain factors explain the courts’ “shyness”, such as positions defended by government prosecutors in court proceedings, the deference of courts towards the legislative branch, the lack of legal recourses based on social rights and a certain tendency of higher courts to refuse to hear the appeals on these issues. As a result, access to justice is denied to persons most disadvantaged by society, and social rights are marginalized in Canadian law as is frequently denounced by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. My research seeks to question this marginalization of social rights within Canadian law. Rather than analyzing the structural or substantive aspects of the legal system, I analyze the legal culture of Canada as an obstacle to the justiciability of social rights. While some authors have written on the conservative ideology of the courts, I wish to demonstrate the impact of the legal culture on the closed-mindedness of Canadian law in regards to social rights. Although analyses about the impact of the legal culture on transformative constitutionalism (Klare, 1998) exist, no text documents the relation between this culture and the justiciability of social rights.

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Rigor & Legal Research - Workshop
May
24
11:45 AM11:45

Rigor & Legal Research - Workshop

Room A7-235, Law Faculty, Sherbrooke University

Sophie Audette-Chapdelaine, doctoral candidate, will lead this workshop on transparency and methodological rigor in the context of legal research. Different questions will be explored:

  • Should our readers be informed of the precise manner in which we have found and used the sources mobilized in our work, whether traditional or otherwise?
  • How can we convey this information?
  • How can we adopt a more systematic, and less intuitive approach?
  • What analytical tools can be useful? (Demonstration of jurisprudence data collection and analysis using QDA Miner Software)
  • Can an explicit methodology allow us to receive more funding, and more easily?
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6th Study Day on Legal Methodology and Epistemology
Apr
28
8:00 AM08:00

6th Study Day on Legal Methodology and Epistemology

Laval University Faculty of Law, in collaboration with the Laboratory and the Louis-Philippe-Pigeon Legal Writing Chair, will host the 6th study day devoted to legal methodology and epistemology . The theme chosen for this edition is Critical Theory in Law.

Objective: The objective is to discuss the relevance and the various forms of criticism of the law, jurisprudence and institutions.

More information coming soon!

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The Recognition of the Rights of People in Custody and the Impact of the Harper Government’s Punitive Turn - Seminar
Mar
31
1:00 PM13:00

The Recognition of the Rights of People in Custody and the Impact of the Harper Government’s Punitive Turn - Seminar

Room A9-162.

Lucie Lemonde, Professor, Department of Legal Sciences, UQAM, will host this conference.

The movement for the recognition of the rights of people in custody began in the mid-70s. After abandoning the so-called hands off position, courts declared that people in custody still held their rights as citizens and that the rule of law must prevail within these establishments. Legal gains as concerns, namely, the respect of fundamental justice principles by disciplinary courts and parole boards, have been progressively integrated in law and practice.

The repressive approach towards criminal matters adopted by Stephen Harper’s conservative government, based on an ideology that values law and order (“tough on crime”), has deeply disrupted the correctional philosophy and the guiding principles of the prison system that had been elaborated during the previous decades. Within a few years, we have gone from a principle of respect for human dignity and for the constitutional rights of persons in custody to a policy of tougher sentencing and a new paradigm of “basic rights”. Beyond this minimum, people in custody only benefit from discretionary privileges depending on their good behaviour and participation in programs.

The main impact of this punitive turn is an increase in incarceration rates. Prison overpopulation, then, leads to dramatic consequences for the detention conditions of people in custody. The regular recourse to cell isolation, due to a lack of staff or to the insufficient amount of resources specialized in mental health, constitutes the central contemporary problem in penitentiaries and prisons.

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The Story of a Lost Epistemological Gamble: A Thesis About Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle for the Full Recognition of Ancestral Rights - Seminar
Mar
29
11:30 AM11:30

The Story of a Lost Epistemological Gamble: A Thesis About Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle for the Full Recognition of Ancestral Rights - Seminar

The respect of Indigenous Peoples’ ancestral land rights constitutes one of the greatest challenges jurists face. The ideal manner of addressing it is through concluding treaties with them. In Canada, this practice is currently impeded by the policy of “exchanging” vague rights for rights that are defined with precision. This policy is deemed disgraceful by Indigenous parties, for whom negotiation must concern the full recognition of ancestral rights. This problem constitutes an aporia for jurists, until its historical contextualization, complemented by a critical reflection on legal thought, highlights that it results from the coming together of two different conceptions, not only of the concept of “ancestral rights” but also of “law” itself. This meeting is that of monism with legal pluralism. Even then, the jurist might feel helpless before the question of the normative meaning of the larger process of progressive recognition, by Canadian and supranational law, of the Indigenous legal orders. The defunct agreement with the Innus recognized their ancestral rights as an expression of their identity. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples made “mutual recognition” the guiding principle of its recommendations. The “struggle for recognition” theme therefore leads to think that philosophy will play a leading role. Multicultural liberalism and the policy of recognition authorize the formulation of a thesis of a double struggle for legal protection and for the assumption of the value of Indigenous legal cultures. However, it is not with the multicultural issue in mind that, at around the same time as Charles Taylor, Axel Honneth set out to review systematically a theme that passes as Hegelian. The present research presents itself as a philosophical investigation of a legal problem. It also constitutes an investigation of the interest of philosophy to elucidate legal problems.

 

 Professor Maxime St-Hilaire’s thesis is available here.

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Law and the "sharing economy": Regulating market-based online platforms
Jan
19
5:30 PM17:30

Law and the "sharing economy": Regulating market-based online platforms

Invitation to a public panel of experts (free to attend, registration needed) at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal. 

Address : 475 Boul de Maisonneuve Est, Montréal, H2L 5C4

New websites and mobile applications that let individuals exchange rentals or services are changing how people locate short term accommodation, get from place to place in the city, and carry out other activities that have often been heavily regulated. As a result, some of these platforms (such as Airbnb and Uber) have come into sharp conflict with regulators over issues such as safety, taxation, working conditions, privacy, discrimination, and even ensuring the availability of affordable housing. Regulators are struggling to come to terms with this new reality. How should they respond? How should the law distinguish between commercial and personal activity? Should regulation be aimed at the platforms or at those who use them? 

A public panel of experts on the topic will take place at Montreal’s Grande Bibliothèque, on January 19th, 2017, from 5:30 to 7 pm. A reception will be held immediately afterwards. This will be a bilingual event, free to attend. Certificates of attendance will be produced for persons who request them, including for the Quebec Bar’s continuing education. 

Please register at: https://www.usherbrooke.ca/droit/formation-continue/le-droit-et-leconomie-du-partage/le-droit-et-leconomie-du-partage/#c37253.

 

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The Globalization of Law, Legal Transnationalization and the Sovereignty of Empire
Jan
12
11:45 AM11:45

The Globalization of Law, Legal Transnationalization and the Sovereignty of Empire

Room A7-235

This workshop will be presented by Diego Machado, Master’s student in Law at the University of Sherbrooke.

Using the case of Canadian mining in Latin America, this workshop aims to draw the conceptual elements of a critic of the consequences of globalization on law, in particular in the context of the emergence of new actors in the globalization process and in light of the concept of Empire as a sovereignty model. The development of transnational mining is related to the emergence of a new global sovereignty. This global sovereignty is articulated not only in relation to transnational mining companies, but also around a network of public and private actors (national and international) seeking to create the necessary economic, social and cultural conditions in order to promote this type of productive activity.

In the context of globalization, legal systems, both domestic and international as well as their interactions, are under fundamental mutations concerning rules, institutions, actors and practices. The major actors of globalized regulation of international economic activities are transnational companies. They induce transformations in the law of states where they deploy their activities through contractual models they impose to their local co-contractors and through lobbying of public authorities. They are described as largely avoiding national and international regulations.

The notion of Empire refers to the emergence of a new form of global sovereignty that has transformed modern sovereignty. Within the concept of Empire (Hardt and Negri, 2000), a central idea is fundamental for our thesis. Within the current global context, no nation-state, not even the United States, would have the necessary resources to become an imperial state. Imperialism, as a domination mode mobilized exclusively by the nation-state, is not valid in order to understand the global order. The notion of Empire that is of interest in this case implies that this global power is not exercised uniquely from a power of the state. The Empire implies a new form of sovereignty constituted by the most powerful nation-states, international institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank, and transnational companies. The Empire insists on the fact that power is exercised in networks rather than in a unilateral manner. In other words, within the territory of the nation-state, economic, political and social logics interact top-down and bottom-up, redefining the scope of modern sovereignty. The main characteristic of Empire is to be fundamentally capitalist; it is also to edify itself from the ashes of state sovereignty.

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The Making of the Universal: Towards a Critical History of International Law as a Statist Project
Dec
14
11:00 AM11:00

The Making of the Universal: Towards a Critical History of International Law as a Statist Project

Room A7-235.

Speaker: Olivier Barsalou, Co-Director of the Research Centre on International Law and Globalization (CÉDIM), UQAM, Postdoctoral researcher, McGill University

Working with law means first and foremost working with history, conceived as a quest for the foundations of the norm. However, historians and international jurists have only recently (re)started to be interested in international law’s history as a (legitimate) scientific field of investigation. Rational, objective, progressive, international law’s vanishing point is its future and its pre-emption. Yet, working with the history of international law equates to creating a breach in the performance of international law understood as a disciplined and practice-oriented field, subordinated to problem resolution. This breach leads to two perspectives: one classic, the other critical. The history of international law is classically euro-centered, hagiographical, iconographic, progressive and teleological, inasmuch as this history was constructed as a justification of the instrumental and universalist reason of international law. The critical history of international law, for its part, is declined in the plural. It seeks to understand how law participates in the construction of power relations and their reproduction as a power, i.e. as an irreducible universal. In other words, it seeks to understand how the present has been constituted and how it participates in the production of a specific future. The recent resurgence of critical histories of international law thus conveys this ambition of, ultimately, creating the genealogy of the present moment: to understand how the contemporary has been constituted. In terms of subjects as well as sources, the contemporary of international law is manifested through the state, the inevitable disciplinary and professional figure. Using two historical case studies, that of the history of human rights and of the history of the right to self-determination of peoples, this presentation will demonstrate that a critical history of international law is above all a critic of the state as a universalist project irreducible to international law.

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